Where the Crawdads Sing – A book review

Where the Crawdads Sing – A book review

Reading a pretty hyped up book has its own disadvantages, mainly the pressure to like it because everyone else did. But did Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens pass the test for me? Let’s get on to the book review shall we?

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About the book

Where the Crawdads Sing Book cover

Book Name: Where the Crawdads Sing

Author: Delia Owens

Genre: Fiction – Romance; Thriller

Characters: Kya Clark, Tate Walker, Jumpin’ and Mable, Chase Andrews

Setting: Barkley Cove, North CarolinaThe USA

Plot Summary

The book begins when six year old Kya watches her mother leave their shack and her five children with her drunk, violent and often absent father. Soon one by one her siblings also flee, as does her father eventually, leaving her behind to fend for herself.

She attends the school for a day, forced by the authorities and tempted by the meal, but realizes she would be hungry rather than be laughed at. When Kya learns to accept her loneliness, two boys enter her life.

One of them teaches her to read and discover more about the marsh life and another shows what her life could be if she were a “normal” girl. And to make things worse, both of them abandon her at some point, just like her family.

Fast forward to 1969, when they recover a local athlete, Chase Andrews’ body near the marsh. Without much evidence, they arrest Kya when the villagers come to know Chase and Kya were closer to each other than they all thought.

Why was Kya arrested and who murdered Chase? What happens to Kya forms the rest of the story in Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

Book review

In this historical fiction, there are two timelines – one following six year old Kya’s life from 1952 and the other follows Chase’s murder investigation in 1969. There are vast differences in the writing styles, almost like they were written by two authors.

But I think that worked, because for me they felt like they were different genres (a coming of age romance and a murder/legal thriller). And I am sure fans of both the genres would have something for them.

It is apparent that Delia Owens knows the marshland very well. And her writing ensures the reader gets transported to the wetlands themselves. Once I suspended the skepticism about a kid living all alone, I really liked Kya and her will to survive everything that life throws her way.

I loved how Where the Crawdads Sing spoke of several themes like abandonment, parental neglect, alienation, bullying and racism. And yet made it all about hope and love.

The romance part was a tiny bit melodramatic. But when you are 20 something everyone is allowed to be heart broken and decide to “never love anyone ever again”. There were quite a number of red herring and I was at a point convinced someone particular was the murderer. But surprisingly they were not!

What worked for me

  • Where the Crawdads Sing works mainly for Owen’s writing and her ability to grasp the reader’s attention – be it the romance or the court room drama!
  • Kya herself is an unique character and she will be cherished as one of the strong female literary characters in my mind.
  • Despite talking about so many serious themes like abandonment, parental neglect, alienation, bullying and racism, it is hope and positivity that I ended up feeling.

What may have been better

  • The first part contains a lot of descriptive writing, so if you are not into those type of books be warned.
  • Also a warning people who are not into alternative timelines.

Bottom line

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is one of those books that survived the hype and came through for me. I liked the author’s writing style and her character building. Catch Where the Crawdads Sing before the movie comes out!

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Where the Crawdads Sing – A book review

Sittaford Mystery, The: A book review

Do you read mystery thrillers? If you do, you will understand my frustrations about being able to guess the culprit in the first few chapters. But when you are reading a book by Christie, you don’t have to fear. So how did The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie fare on my scale?

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About the book

Sittaford Mystery Cover

Book Name: The Sittaford Mystery

Author: Agatha Christie

Genre: Fiction – Thriller, Mystery,

Characters: Major Burnaby, the Willets, Captain Joe Trevelyan, Emily Trefusis, James Pearsons, Inspector Narracott

Setting: England, The UK

The plot

Major Burnaby visits his new neighbors, the Willets and finds himself participating in an Ouija board game (“tableturning”). The seemingly harmless game ends with the “spirits” announcing that Captain Trevelyan, his long time friend and landlord, is dead.

Burnaby gets restless and takes it upon himself to make sure the Captain is well, trudging through the thick snow. But as it turns out to be, the Captain is really dead and his nephew is arrested.

Emily Trefusis, the fiancée of the nephew takes it upon herself to acquit him and find the real culprit. Was it just coincidence that the séance pronounced the death? If so, who killed the Captain forms the rest of the story in The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie.

My initial thoughts

I am not even surprised anymore that I failed to solve an Agatha Christie’s murder mystery. While I had two or three lines of suspicions, I was not even close to the actual murderer. I bow down before the Queen of mystery, once again.

The set up of secluded Sittaford was a good choice and gave the perfect eeriness required for this whodunnit. And you all know how much I love small town/village set ups.

Emily Trefusis and Inspector Narracott worked well for me, and their styles never clashed with each other. No negativity, but I liked him more than some of Christie’s regulars themselves.

I loved the ensemble of colorful characters – puzzle loving Major Burnaby, the Willets who have made a bizarre decision to spend their winter in an isolated place in Dartmouth, absolutely unlikeable heirs of the Captain and the weak, naïve accused James Pearson and of course Emily Trefusis herself!

Emily was a welcome change. She spoke her mind, put on a bit of act and was earnest in freeing her fiancé, and had a great sense of humor. And Charles Enderby played the perfect sidekick. Well, how many times do we get the female to do the heavy lifting and the male being the humble sidekick!

What worked for me

  • I really liked Inspector Narracott and his working style as much as I enjoyed Emily’s.
  • I loved the snowy and secluded Sittaford background, perfect for my small town loving self.
  • The tableturning or Ouija board game was nice add in too. I confess it misled me a bit more than it should have.

What may have been better

  • I wish we heard more about the Captain Joe Trevelyan, the misogynistic, money loving victim. Literally that is all we hear about him.
  • I didn’t want to read the men fighting over Emily. I want mystery, murder, and mayhem and no romance please.

Bottom line

The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie is a perfect mystery thriller for the lovers of the whodunnit genre. If you like an ensemble mystery this one is for you and again you can’t go wrong with Agatha Christie.

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Where the Crawdads Sing – A book review

Sadie by Courtney Summers- A book review

How do you choose between an engaging plot and a compelling writing, if you can have only one of them? Tough call, right? Welcome to my hell and with that thought in your mind let us review Sadie by Courtney Summers.

Have you read Sadie by Courtney Summers? How did you like it? What would you choose between a compelling writing and an engaging unpredictable plot? Let us talk. Share on X

About the book

Cover Sadie by Courtney Summers

Book Name: Sadie

Author: Courtney Summers

Genre: Fiction – Thriller, Young Adult

Characters: Sadie and Mattie Hunter

Setting: ColoradoThe USA

The plot

Sadie and Mattie knew what it is to be left to fend for themselves, and as an elder sister Sadie had always been hard Mattie to protect her from the world as she knew it. But when Mattie is found dead and no one would help them, Sadie had to take things in her own hands in finding out who did that to her.

But then Sadie went missing too. The consensus was she went chasing her sister’s killer and no one knows anything about it.

Now, over a year after Mattie’s body was found, West McCray is hosting an investigative reporting podcast called The Girls and attempts to solve the case of Mattie’s death (and finding Sadie) by following Sadie’s journey.

Where does this investigation unearth? Did Sadie find the killer? Does it ends well for the team and Sadie? Well, you will have to read Sadie by Courtney Summers to know more.

My initial thoughts

The book Sadie follows two narratives – the podcast by West McCray in the present day (which hooked me in right from the minute go) and Sadie’s point of view, which didn’t work for me.

Sure there were a lot of sad things happening and there are characters that are super interesting. But somehow I never felt engrossed in Sadie’s narrative nor it impacted me, as much as it should have.

Do not get me wrong, the plot itself was just interesting and predictable. And I am ok with that, but the point that the storyline was not engaging me emotionally was a huge let down for me.

But the author’s compelling writing style kept me involved until the end. Talking of the ending, it may not work for all, some may feel disappointed even, but for me worked so well.

What I loved the most about Sadie was the characters, that were well developed and had so much depth. Be it Sadie’s stuttering and her intense need to be protective of her sister, or Mattie’s naivete or hopefulness, made me root for their turbulent relationship.

Sadie deals with hard and intense subjects like sexual abuse, pedophilia and child pornography, abandonment and neglect by parents. But Ms Summers has done a great job in keeping it still appropriate for a young adult audience (well, the upper limits of YA/NA) as well as adults.

What worked for me

  • I loved Summers’ compelling and readable writing style.
  • The characters and their detailing were perfect. I loved the multi faceted characters.
  • One more round of applause for not making it gory with details about the rape/murder/pedophilia issues, given that its YA or NA audience.
  • Despite that it might have been hit or miss, I personally loved the ending. In fact, I would have been disappointed if it would have ended any other way, having read the current ending.

What may have been better

  • I wish the storyline was more engaging and emotionally involving me.

Bottom line

If you are looking a young/new adult thriller with an interesting premise, Sadie might be a good pick. Just heed to the warning about the subject matter, especially if you are younger by age and heart.

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Where the Crawdads Sing – A book review

Dinner, The – A book review

How far would you go to save your loved one from the law and public eye when you know they are guilty? Would your stance change if it was only you that knew they were guilty? Well, the Dinner is based on this dilemma and much more. 

I came across the Dinner when I was hunting books for my infamous Flyaway Friday feature to Netherlands. Written by Dutch author Herman Koch, the plot definitely caught my eye. So let us see how that turned out for me, shall we?

I came across #TheDinner when I was working on #FlyawayFriday for #Netherlands and the plot unsurprisingly caught my eye. Ready to see how it worked for me? #BookReview Share on X

About the book

Dinner

Book Name: The Dinner

Author: Herman Koch

Genre: Fiction – Drama

Characters: Paul and Claire Lohman, Serge and Babette

Setting: Netherlands

The plot

The Dinner begins with two brothers (Paul the narrator and his brother Serge Lohman), and their respective wives (Claire and Babette) meeting for a dinner at a high end restaurant. Though most of their dinner conversations are polite and filled with small talks, they have gathered to talk about something very serious – regarding their sons and their recent activities.

Between courses of the meal, they talk about everything under the sun from movies to relationships. They welcome external interruptions, try to undermine each other, as dysfunctional families do, and anything to avoid discussing the acts of their fifteen year old sons.

When they finally open the topic, the true nature of the parents and the distance they would go to protect the children surface.

What their sons did and how their parents decide to handle the situation during and after the dinner forms the rest of the story in the Dinner

My initial thoughts

I began reading the Dinner by hating the narrator’s pretentious elder brother and then realize one by one that each of the characters are wile and truly wicked. I think the strength of the author lies on the fact that the shift happened so subtly that you never see it coming.

As someone who is not a “foodie” and does not really understand the fad about over highly priced food, I am totally with Paul’s hilarious commentary about all the pompousness associated and his brother’s pretentiousness.

The Dinner doesn’t shy away from talking about the dark and disgusting side of humanity and discusses taboo topics like the pressure to seem like a “perfect happy family”, mental illness and dehumanizing others based on labels etc

Things that worked for me

  • Every character is flawed and their gray shade made the book more interesting.
  • If you like biased and unreliable narrators, then you are in for a treat.
  • The writing and pacing are so well done that I grew as impatient as Paul at the many interruptions that kept them from discussing the topic at hand.

Things that didn’t work for me

  • If you are looking for a book with like-able characters, the Dinner is not for you.
  • The Dinner might seem unbelievable to happen in real world if you truly think that humans can’t be morally reprehensible. You will be shocked.

Bottom-line

Read the Dinner if humanity continues to shock you, and you still want to read about the dark, dark place humans can go for selfish reasons. Perfect for you if you liked Dark places by Gillian Flynn or the Vegetarian by Han Kang

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Where the Crawdads Sing – A book review

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – A book review

If you have been reading my reviews for a while you might know that I love jumping into a book without even reading the synopsis of a book. And I solely depend on recommendations and reviews of other bloggers and my mood swings to pick a book. 

When I assumed that it was a contemporary murder mystery, I could not have been more wrong about The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton when I picked it up, after three other bookworms suggested it to me. I can’t wait to rave talk about the book to you all. Shall we get on with the review now?

When I assumed that it was a mere #contemporaryMurderMystery, I could not have been more wrong about #TheSevenDeathsofEvelynHardcastle by Stuart Turton when I picked it up. I can't wait to rave about it. Read on! Share on X

About The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Book Name: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Author: Stuart Turton

Genre: Fiction – Thriller, Paranormal

Characters: Evelyn Hardcastle, Sebastian Bell, Dr Dickie, Aiden Bishop, Daniel Coleridge, Michael Hardcastle, Charles Cunningham

Setting: The UK

Plot summary of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Our protagonist wakes up with just a name in his mind and no other memory what so ever. He does not know his name or his history, except that he has to save Anna. He finds his name to be Sebastian Bell, a drug peddling doctor who is invited to a party at the Blackheath estate. 

Soon he realizes Bell is just one of his hosts and has eight days and eight lives each in a different person’s body tasked to find the murderer of Evelyn Hardcastle, one of the heirs to the Blackheath. 

He discovers that he is Aiden Bishop who is stuck in a time rut and until he finds the murderer he has to relive these eight days for eternity. What brings Aiden to Blackheath and does he solve the murder forms the rest of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

Book review of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a perfect blend of mystery novel with time travel fantasy. It took me a few pages to get into the story especially since I was not sure what to expect. But once I did, I just couldn’t put the book down until the end. 

I should start with I have not read a book as complicated as The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle in the recent while, or maybe in a long time. 
And it reads like a puzzle than a typical mystery novel.

It offers more than unexpected twists and suspense that is maintained till the last page. There are quite a number of captivating plot lines and characters that make us question our trust and their perceptions. 

Things that worked for me

  • As a newbie to the time travel genre, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle blew my mind and I am sure it would be as good even if you are a regular.
  • I loved the methodical approach in solving the mystery, which is becoming a rarity these days.
  • And also, here is another unreliable narrator to love and rave about.

Things that didn’t work for me

  • Being a vividly plotted novel, many may consider the pace to be slow, especially for a murder mystery
  • I felt The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was a little long winded during the last few chapters. 

Bottom-line

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is one of those rare books that I would not mind rereading for the plot itself, just to make sure I had not missed out anything. And I am sure The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle will be worth reading twice. Just pick it up already. 

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Where the Crawdads Sing – A book review

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The: Book review

Do you ever give a book a second chance? I mean quite literally – like you read the first time and you don’t like it, but then you give it another chance and ending up appreciating it more? Well, that is what happened with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

Have you ever given a book a second chance and then ended up appreciating it more? Well, that is what happened with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Read my review here Share on X

About the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Book Name: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Author: Mark Haddon

Genre: Fiction – Drama, Young adult

Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone, Toby, Wellington, Siobhan, Mr. Jeavons, Mrs. Alexander, Ed Boone, Judy Boone, Mr. and Mrs. Eileen Shears

Setting: England, The UK

Plot summary of the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Christopher John Francis Boone, a fifteen year old kid on the Autism/Asperger’s spectrum, is on a mission to find out who murdered his neighbour’s dog, Sherlock Holmes’ style. While he has a gift for math, he has difficulty reading other people’s emotion and hates being touched. 

His father finds it difficult to understand his needs. His mother did it all for him until she died suddenly and now they are left to fend for themselves. Did he find the murderer? What happened to his mother? Read the rest of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time to know more.

Book review of the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

I rarely give books that I DNF-ed a second chance and I decided to read it because the Classics N Christie book club chose it as the BOTM. And I really wanted to know what happened in the book after I gave up and why everyone goes gaga over it. 

Even though it plays the stereotypical high functioning autistic kid, this book helped me take a look at what happens inside the head of an autistic teen.

If I had to wonder what the difference was between the first time I read it and now, it is that I am more educated about the autistic spectrum, thanks to mainstream media and other books. 

Things that worked for me

  • While I found it hard to get into the first time I read it, I liked the non linear writing style now.
  • I was genuinely surprised when the big reveal came up and I hadn’t guessed it at all.
  • Christopher is a classic example of unreliable narrators, whom I love in general.

Things that didn’t work for me

Christopher falls straight into the holes of the stereotypes of autism in the mainstream media.

Bottom-line

I am glad I gave The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time a second chance and I wish that I liked it more. Sure I didn’t love it, but I didn’t dislike it as much I did the first time.

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